Butler returns to face Hornets

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks swingman Caron Butler returned Sunday night against the New Orleans Hornets after missing two games.

He scored 19 points as the Mavs won 108-100.

Butler said before the game that he went through a workout Saturday, an off day for the team, and feels much better.

"Obviously, I'm looking forward to playing tonight," Butler said.

Butler was initially a late scratch for Wednesday's big win over the Los Angeles Lakers when the team announced that he had an adverse reaction to medication. He then missed Friday's game in Atlanta with knee stiffness.

When asked Sunday what the medication was, Butler said he couldn't remember. Asked if the intent of the medication was to help with a knee issue, Butler sidestepped the question and only said he's looking forward to playing Sunday.

Butler participated in the Mavericks' Friday morning shootaround in Atlanta and all signs pointed to him returning to the lineup until he decided that an extra game off would be beneficial.

"I definitely tried to [play]. I went through my same routine that I always go through and just felt a little stiffness and decided to give it another day or so," Butler said. "Luckily I did. I feel much better and am going to give it a shot tonight [Sunday]."

Butler missed a game on Feb. 3 when he played for Washington with a left knee contusion following a game in which he knocked knees with Boston's Paul Pierce.

Asked if this issue is related, Butler again declined to elaborate.

Butler played in his sixth game for Dallas since coming from
Washington as part of a seven-player trade during the All-Star
break. Dallas is 7-1 since acquiring Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson from the Wizards for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton.

Meanwhile, the Hornets were again without All-Star guard Chris Paul on Sunday. Paul missed his 14th straight game because of a left knee injury and could miss another week to three weeks.
Hornets coach Jeff Bower says Paul is still out "indefinitely" but is making encouraging progress.

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.